Young People in Community Business: Stories of Change

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Community businesses can transform the progressive social intentions of younger generations into meaningful and sustainable community action. This report showcases the many ways young people came to be and are involved in community businesses.

Community businesses can transform the progressive social intentions of younger generations into meaningful and sustainable community action. However, currently
there are limitations to young people’s involvement in community business. Fifty seven per cent of community businesses have no leadership or management representation from people aged under 35, and only seven per cent of community businesses are led by an 18 to 35 year old. At the same time, there are significant opportunities – 43 per cent of community businesses already have under-35s involved in their leadership or management.

With the right support, young people’s entrepreneurial ambitions and their social outlook could be harnessed to strengthen the community business sector and the local communities they operate in. Evidence shows that young people are more likely to engage with businesses that share values similar to their own and drive positive change in their communities. Yet younger
generations are also the least socially attached to their local neighbourhoods. Community businesses – businesses run by local people for the benefit of the local community – are helping to address the gap in social capital between generations, working to mitigate high unemployment, skills gaps and a loneliness crisis that today’s young people are facing.

This report showcases the many ways young people came to be and are involved in community businesses. The report was researched by speaking to over 30 community business representatives across England to create 15 case studies, underpinned by quantitative desk research.